Structure and morphology of self-assembled 3-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane layers on silicon oxide

Minghui Hu*, Suguru Noda, Tatsuya Okubo, Yukio Yamaguchi, Hiroshi Komiyama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Citations (Scopus)


Self-assembled 3-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTMS, (CH 3 O) 3 SiCH 2 CH 2 CH 2 SH) layers on hydroxyl-terminated silicon oxide (SiO 2 ) were prepared at MPTMS concentrations ranging from 5 × 10 -3 to 4 × 10 -2 M. The surface structure and morphology of MPTMS layers were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), contact angle measurements, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). We found that the MPTMS layers on SiO 2 consisted of dispersed domains 20-200nm in diameter, instead of continuous, flat monolayers. With increasing MPTMS concentration, the domain shape changed from flat to steep. Flat domains were composed of well-ordered monolayers with thiol headgroups uniformly distributed on the uppermost surface, whereas steep domains were composed of disordered polymers with randomly distributed thiol headgroups on the uppermost surface. These results indicate that MPTMS molecules show good self-assembly at an MPTMS concentration of 5 × 10 -3 M, but not above this concentration. The effect of MPTMS concentration on the structure and morphology of MPTMS layers might be due to the competition between self-polymerization and surface dehydration reactions, which depends on the trace quantity of water in the solvent and on the SiO 2 surface. Our research further indicates that MPTMS and water concentrations are the controlling parameters for preparing well-ordered, self-assembled MPTMS monolayers on SiO 2 .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Sept 21
Externally publishedYes


  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Self-assembled monolayers
  • Silicon oxide
  • Surface modification
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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